Springfield Public Schools

A new budget has been adopted for the second-largest public school system in Massachusetts that officials say puts “students first.”   The Springfield Public Schools will spend more money next year on technology in the classrooms, early childhood education, and launch a program to put a computer in the hands of every student.

Wellspring Cooperative

A plan to build a worker cooperative greenhouse in western Massachusetts has received a boost with the announcement of purchasing commitments from several large institutions.

WAMC

A community campaign to improve early child literacy in Springfield, Massachusetts has won national honors. 

 Springfield’s “Reading Success by 4th Grade” initiative was cited for making measurable progress on eliminating barriers faced by children from low-income families that can block them from becoming proficient readers.

WAMC

In what is believed to be a first for a school district in Massachusetts, the Springfield School Department is going to build its own food services center. It will be a centralized warehouse and production facility to support a growing meals program in the state’s second largest public school system.

WAMC

The federal official in charge of national nutrition programs was in Springfield, Massachusetts Friday to see a unique effort that has dramatically increased the number of children who start the school day with a nutritious breakfast.

When 2,000 students stream through the doors of Central High School every morning just after 7, breakfast is waiting for them – right in their first period homeroom.

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Massachusetts four-year high school graduation rates climbed for the ninth year in a row in 2015 with some of the largest gains recorded by some minority groups and students from low-income families. The second-largest school district in the state, Springfield, boasted the best improvement of any urban district in the state. 

Gov Baker participates in a roundtable discussion on education
WAMC

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, who is a strong advocate for more charter schools, recently visited a charter school-like program operated by a public-private partnership in Springfield.

The middle schools in Springfield began a dramatic transformation just about a year ago in a bid to lift the schools out of the bottom academic rung and avert a likely state takeover. The schools were placed under the control of a board with representatives appointed by the city, the state education department, and Empower Schools, a private education company.

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A national charity that provides babies and pre-teen children living in poverty with essentials including clothing, shoes, toys, and school supplies is expanding into western Massachusetts from its base in the Boston area.

Before the new school year started last fall in Springfield, 6,400 children received backpacks full of school supplies at no cost to their families.  Now, more than 1,000 homeless children in the Springfield schools will get free winter coats.  The donations are the product of a new partnership between the city’s public schools and Cradles to Crayons.

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Massachusetts education officials today released the annual accountability designations for the state’s public schools.

About a third of the state’s public schools met goals this year for academic achievement and closing gaps in school performance between whites and minority students. Only two percent of the schools are considered “underperforming,” which puts them at risk for a state takeover unless there are improvements in a few years.

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A foundation supported by a national teachers union said results reported today of a five-year pilot program in five elementary schools in Springfield, Massachusetts point to the value of a collaborative approach to education.  The initiative, funded with $2.5 million, focused on professional development, providing social services to children and their parents, and teacher home visits. 

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Federal funds are paying for an expansion of pre-school programs in Springfield, Massachusetts, where children from poor families have historically struggled academically and dropped out before graduating from high school.

A $2 million federal grant will open 11 additional Head Start classrooms for infants and toddlers from low- income families in Springfield.  Massachusetts Congressman Richard Neal, who announced the funding, praised Head Start as a last vestige from the Great Society programs of the 1960s.

WAMC

The second largest public school system in Massachusetts is expanding early childhood education through what officials say is a unique partnership with the private sector.

A new free preschool in Springfield is currently enrolling eligible 4-year-old children for classes that will start next month.  There are approximately 300 openings in the Springfield Cooperative Preschool, which is being run collaboratively by the public schools, Head Start, the Square One organization, and the YMCA of Greater Springfield.  

The second largest public school system in Massachusetts will operate with a $346 million budget in the next school year, a 2.4 percent increase over what the Springfield schools spent this year.

The Springfield School Committee approved the new budget that avoids teacher layoffs and counts on energy savings and other cost cutting, according to Superintendent of Schools Dan Warwick.

" We have really worked hard to make cuts and look for efficiencies far away from the classrooms," he said.

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Officials in Springfield, Massachusetts today announced a summer reading program they hope will entice children to keep learning after school lets out.

The launch of Springfield’s Summer Reading Club included an endangered Fishing Cat from the city’s Forest Park Zoo, a local author dressed as his costume superhero, and top readers from a fifth-grade class at the Milton Bradley Elementary school, who created a cheer for summer reading.

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Massachusetts is making a financial commitment to equip the state’s public schools with state-of-the-art science labs. The initiative comes as schools stress a curriculum heavy with science, technology, engineering and math, which is collectively called STEM.

A new three-story science wing with 12 new laboratories, multi-purpose preparation rooms, cutting-edge classrooms, and a greenhouse was dedicated Thursday at Springfield Central High School. The new wing cost $32 million. The Massachusetts School Building Authority covered 80 percent of the cost, or $25.6 million.

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A state university in western Massachusetts and an urban public school system have announced a partnership to train more minority teachers in high- demand fields.

Westfield State University and the Springfield Public Schools have embarked on a “grow your own” initiative to recruit Springfield high school students of color to become teachers, provide a four-year university education, followed by a guaranteed job in the city’s public school system.

WAMC

A new school year begins Monday in Springfield, Massachusetts where rising standardized test scores and a falling dropout rate are seen as signs of a turnaround in the struggling public school system. A new test, based on the Common Core educational standards, will be introduced in a majority of the city’s schools next year.

The scores of last year’s MCAS tests given to Springfield school students rose across the board at a higher rate than the gain recorded by school districts statewide, and the dropout rate has fallen  more than any other school system in the state.

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A school building in Springfield, Massachusetts that was originally constructed in 1898 has been transformed into a 21st century learning center.   Classes have resumed at the Forest Park Middle School following a three-year renovation project.

SPS

20,000 students head back to class Monday in Springfield Massachusetts. The state’s second largest public school system has received almost $14 million in federal funds to put programs in place to close academic achievement gaps.   Daniel Warwick is beginning his second year as Superintendent of Springfield Public Schools.  WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with him about his plans to address the system’s chronic problems.

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A ninth grade English teacher at Springfield Central High School has been singled out for a top honor in her profession in Massachusetts.

Anne Marie Bettencourt said it was a teacher who convinced her to stay in school when she was a student at New Bedford High School. Now she pays it forward as she works in a program to improve the graduation rate at Springfield Central High School where she teaches freshman English.  Bettencourt was introduced as Massachusetts Teacher of The Year at a surprise program on Tuesday in the school’s library.

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Educators, business leaders, and philanthropists are backing an initiative in Springfield Massachusetts to combat a problem that confounds many urban schools: a  low high school graduation rate.

WAMC

A ten member special committee has been formed in Springfield Massachusetts to investigate  school safety.  The committee has a broad and open- ended assignment.

Springfield City Council President James Ferrera, who named the members of the Special Committee on School Safety on Monday, said he expects the panel will delve deeply into the subject and issue periodic reports and recommendations.

WAMC

A special summer camp opened today for children from two public housing developments in Springfield Massachusetts.   As WAMC”s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill tells us the camp is part of an innovative early literacy program.

 

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The second largest public school district in Massachusetts will have a new  superintendent of schools by July 1st.  WAMC’s Paul Tuthill reports.

            Daniel Warwick, who began his career in education as a teacher in the public schools in Springfield Mass in 1976, and is currently deputy superintendent, has been picked to be the troubled school systems next chief administrator.

The second largest public school system in Massachusetts is going to make condoms available to students as young as 12 beginning this fall. The school committee in Springfield, Thursday night, approved a condom availability policy that proponents say will become  part of a comprehensive effort to combat one of the highest rates of teen pregnancy in the state. WAMC's  Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.